The operation of malting is performed by steeping any quantity of good barley, newly threshed, in a leaden cistern containing river water, for the space of three or four days, or till the fluid acquires a bright red colour : but a more eligible method is that of changing the water every day, till the grain is sufficiently macerated, so as to slip out of the husk, when compressed between the fingers. It is then removed from the cistern, and laid in heaps to drain for two or three hours, at the end of which it is stirred, and formed into a new heap. In this state, the grain is suffered to lie for more or less than forty hours, till the malt is properly come; during which interval, it will be necessary to examine the bailey at the expiration of 15 or 16 hours, because the grains generally begin to sprout about that time. Within an hour after the roots appear, the heap must be carefully stirred, so that the whole may equally germinate.
The malt is now to be spread out, and repeatedly turned over, for the space of two or three days, in order that it may properly cool; in consequence of which process it becomes mellow, dissolves easily in brewing, and readily parts with the husk. To complete the process of malting, the barley is thrown up into a high heap, where, in the course of 30 hours, it becomes as hot as the hand can bear it, by which both its sweetness and mellowness are improved. Lastly, the malt is dried in a kiln, heated with coke, charcoal, or straw : the intensity of the fire varies according to the colour required ; but, where wood or other vegetable fuel is -m-ployed, such materials ought to be perfectly dry; as otherwise the smoke arising from damp combustibles would greatly injure the grain.
In order to determine the quality of malt, a handful of it should be thrown into cold water, where those grains that are imperfectly germinated, will swim with one end upwards (Dr. Darwin supposes with the root end) ; and such as are properly malted, float on their side; whereas sound, ungerminat-ed barley, uniformly sinks in water. Another criterion of good malt is, its agreeable saccharine taste; and, likewise, if the whole contents of the grain easily crumble into powder, and dissolve in the mouth. In short, it ought to be pure, dry, and to emit a strong, though agreeable, odour.
Mr. Bordley, an intelligent American farmer, advises his countrymen to buy malt, or exchange barley for malt, rather than to attempt the making of it; as the principal difficulty he found was in ascertaining the heats of the grain, while germinating. At length he succeeded, on attending to the directions given in the 5th vol. of Mills's Husbandry. This practical writer observes, that during the first ten days the heat of the malt on the floor should be between 50 and 60 degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer; in the next three or tour days, it is to be increased from 60 to 65 and 67 ; And during the last ten days of its lying there, to 80, 84, and 87 ; which last will be the proper degree of heat, when the matt must be laid on the kiln.
Alter the malt is properly ground in a mill, it is fit for Brewing ; of which process we have already given an account under that article.
Malt-dust, or the refuse that falls from malt in drying, affords an advantageous manure for wheat-laud, especially if it be scattered as a top-dressing : The proper quantity of this dust is 80 bushels per acre or wheat,and about 60 bushels for barley: it 13 also eminently calculated for grass-lands ; and, if applied in the latter proportion, it will produce a very considerable increase of the best seed. Such manure, however, is most beneficial to clay-soils, or stiff loams ; as, on gravelly land, and in dry seasons, it will be apt to burn the soil. But, if the succeeding weather be moist, it will be productive of great benefit; for the first shower washes it into the earth, and thus secures-the crop, which not only becomes finer and more abundant, but the soil is at the same time effectually cleared from the noxious weeds, that frequently vegetate, when common dung is employed.
As malt forms so essential an article of domestic consumption, and is not at all times within the reach of the poor, various recipes have been given for making beer with a small portion of, or wholly without, malt: some of these having already appeared in pp. 237-8, of our first volume, we now add the following method of brewing beer, as tending to diminish the consumption of, and thus in some measure to serve as a substitute for, that valuable grain. It consists simply in adding 28lbs. of dry, well-tasted brown sugar, to half a load, or three Winchester bushels, of malt. .The latter is to be brewed in the usual manner with hops, after which the sugar is to be introduced, and the liquor stirred till the whole is dissolved. Thus, a wholesome beverage may be procured at about three-fourths' of the expence usually incurred by using malt and hops only ; because a smaller proportion of the. latter plant now. answers the purpose.
Among the different patents that have been, granted for inventions, or improvements, relative to the preparation of beer, the following claim more particular notice ; namely, Mr. Dearman's, for his contrivance of mills for grinding malt, in 1779; Mr. Jones's, in 1798, for a machine, calculated to mix malt, or other substances, more intimately with fluids; and Mr. Tickle's, in 1801, for more effectually dissolving and extracting the virtues of malt, hops, and other vegetable substances. As our limits will not permit us to detail these pretensions to ingenuity, we refer the reader to the later volumes of the Repertory of Arts and Manufactures.--In the 15 th volume of the same work, we meet with a communication from Mr. Joseph Coppinger, containing a description and plan of a malt and corn-kiln of his invention. He observes, that it is particularly adapted to the use of farmers, who frequently lose considerable quantities of grain during damp or wet seasons, for want of a similar contrivance. Its advantages are stated to be 1. That it may be erected cither in a loft or on the ground-floor, and at one tenth part of the expence. 2. Any kind of fuel may be employed without detriment to the malt or corn dried in it. 3. The heat will be more uniformly distributed, without any waste, as is the case with most of the common kilns. Lastly, the health of the attendants, necessarily employed, will not be exposed to certain injury, in consequence of their breathing, or sleeping in an unwholesome atmosphere ; as their beds will be placed in a shed on the outside of the building. This circumstance, being of the greatest importance, deserves serious attention; and we trust that the contrivance here suggested, will be generally adopted. Consistently with our limits, however, we are obliged to refer the inquisitive reader to the volume last mentioned, where the whole process is amply described, and illustrated with an engraving.
Several acts of parliament have been passed, with a view to prevent frauds in the making of malt, which is subject, to a duty of sixpence per bushel; and, by the 31 Geo. III. c. 30, §. 15, every kind of malt is prohibited to be imported, on pain of forfeiting both the vessel and cargo, though it may be admitted into British ports provisionally, as His Majesty shall think proper.